Mark Collins – Syria Update: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb by Russia (help from Iran) and Assad

The Moscow-Damascus-Tehran axis continues to flex muscles (with help from Baghdad which is permitting Russian bombing overflights to Syra). Two at Defense One’s “D-Brief”:

August 16:

Russia is now bombing Syria from Iran, giving it two strategic air bases in the Middle East. “In a move underscoring Moscow’s increasingly close ties with Tehran, long-range Russian Tupolev-22M3 bombers [really big mothers] and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used Iran’s Hamadan air base [in northwest Iran] to strike a range of targets in Syria,” Reuters reports. The move is also “thought to be the first time that Iran has allowed a foreign power to use its territory for military operations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.”

The decision also embroils Iraq a bit more in the conflict since planes will most likely have to use some of its airspace — meaning they’re flying over ISIS to bomb anti-Assad forces.

Coming soon: More Russian cruise missiles in Syria. That news follows a report from Russia’s Interfax news agency Monday announcing Moscow’s defense ministry “last week sent requests to Iraq and Iran to use the airspace of these countries for the passage of cruise missiles.”..

August 18:

In another alleged first for Syria’s war, Assad jets bombed YPG facilities in northeastern Syria, Kurdish news and Reuters report this morning from an attack that so far has reportedly killed one civilian and injured two-dozen others. “The bombardment came after clashes broke out in the city on Tuesday between the Syrian Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) and the militias affiliated with the Syrian government,” Kurdistan24 News reports.

A bit of context via Reuters: “The YPG controls wide areas of northeastern Syria, where Kurdish groups have established an autonomous government, exploiting the unraveling of central state authority over the country since the start of the conflict. The Syrian government still has footholds in the cities of Qamishli and Hasaka, both in Hasaka governorate, co-existing largely peacefully with YPG-held swathes of territory.”

A hospital was among the targets hit, Kurdish security forces said.  Here’s some video of the aftermath, via Kurdish Rudaw News. More from Syria below the fold…

Lovely. POTUS sure is being outplayed badly by Bad Vlad.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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